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Wills & Probate

Wills and Probate is part of our Private client services which also include, Powers of Attorney, Court of Protection and Lifetime Planning.

We can assist you with the following services:

  • Producing your will from just £200 + Vat
  • Amending a will and preparing a will on an urgent basis.
  • Making or registering a Power of Attorney
  • Registering and Enduring a Power of Attorney
  • Court of Protection work
  • Grants of Probate from Grant only to Full Administration
  • Grant only Probate from £500 + Vat and disbursements
  • Lifetime planning

A will is the only way to make sure your money, property, possessions, and investments go to the people and causes you care about. We offer straightforward Wills on a fixed fee basis and a bespoke quote for more complex matters which can include tax advice.  

We are specialists in dealing with elderly clients and people who are too ill to make their own choices and decisions. We provide an efficient service and can offer urgent, same day appointments if necessary.

Probate

A Grant of Representation is a document issued by the Court authorising the deceased person’s personal representatives (known as Executors if they left a Will or Administrators if there was no Will).   The document enables them to deal with the estate assets. This includes closing Bank or Building Society Accounts or other investments, selling property and land held in the deceased person’s name as well as any shares and valuable jewellery that the deceased owned.

Unless the estate is of low value or all the assets are jointly owned in which case no Grant of  may be required, the administration of an estate involves applying for a Grant of Representation, collecting in the estate assets, settling any liabilities of the estate from the monies realised, and distributing the net estate to the beneficiaries named in the Will or to those entitled under the Intestacy Rules (the law which determines who benefits from the estate) if there is no Will.

When applying for the Grant, details of the estate assets must be declared to HMRC on form IHT205, in a straightforward estate, or form IHT400 and its associated schedules in certain circumstances, or in a higher value or more complex estate.

Fixed Fee Grant Only

If the estate is straightforward and you are comfortable with handling all of the administration of the estate yourself (including dealing with any taxation issues, any queries which might be raised by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), if the deceased person was in receipt of any form of means tested benefit, and the distribution of the estate) we can limit the work we do to obtaining the Grant and additional copies of it for you for a fixed fee of £600.00 plus VAT and the necessary disbursements being the Probate Court fee currently £155.00 plus £0.50p per additional copy of the Grant provided the estate does not include any business assets owned by the deceased person or involve the transfer of Inheritance Tax allowances from a predeceased spouse or require the filing of an IHT400. If the estate involves any of those matters and you want us to apply for the Grant only, we will provide a bespoke quotation based on the estate circumstances. In any case where we are applying for the Grant only, we will ask you to put us in funds to cover the Probate Court fees before they are incurred.

Costs for obtaining a Grant for a straightforward estate worth under £325,000

We anticipate this will take between 6 and 16 hours work at £220 per hour and our fees will be between £1,000.00 and £3,000.00 plus VAT and the necessary disbursements mentioned below.

The exact cost will depend on the estate circumstances and we will provide you with a bespoke cost estimate at the beginning of the matter. For example, if there is one beneficiary and no property, the costs will be at the lower end of the range. If there are multiple beneficiaries, a property, and multiple bank accounts, the costs will be at the higher end.

We will handle the full process for you. The above estimate is for estates as specified above where there:

  • is a valid Will
  • is no more than one property
  • are no more than 5 bank or building society accounts
  • are no more than 5 beneficiaries
  • are no disputes between beneficiaries on the division of assets. (If disputes arise this is likely to lead to an increase in costs.)
  • no claims made against the estate
  • there are no foreign assets
  • no business or agricultural assets
  • An IHT400 tax form (a more complex tax form which requires accompanying schedules to be completed) is not required

Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as court fees. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process.

The likely required disbursements for such specified estates are:

  • Probate Court fee currently £155.00 plus £0.50p per extra copy Grant
  • Bankruptcy-only searches (£2.00 per beneficiary)
  • Statutory Advertisement in The London Gazette to protect against unexpected claims from unknown creditors currently £77.00 plus VAT.
  • Advertisement in a Local Newspaper for the same reason. The costs for this advert varies depending on which local newspaper the advertisement is placed.

Additional costs and disbursements for the above estates

  • If there is no Will or the estate consists of any share holdings (stocks and bonds) there are likely to be additional costs which could range significantly depending on the estate and how it is to be dealt with. We can give you a more accurate quote once we have more information.
  • If the deceased person was a self-assessed income tax payer, Accountants’ fees may be incurred to finalise the income tax position to the date of death and we will have additional costs in dealing with this.
  • If any property whose title is already registered at the Land Registry is to be transferred into the name(s) of a beneficiary, a Land Registry fee dependant on the value of the property will be payable; additional costs and a Land Registry fee will be incurred if the title to the property is unregistered so that a Land Registry first registration of title application is required.
  • Dealing with any Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) enquiries beyond the provision of basic information as to the estate assets. (If the deceased person received any form of means tested benefits, the DWP will ask the personal representatives for details of the estate assets and compare them to those declared at the time of the benefit application and may raise further enquiries if there is any discrepancy between the two)
  • Conveyancing fees for the sale of any property in the estate are not included. Our conveyancing team will provide a separate costs’ estimate for this work.

Our additional costs will be charged in accordance with our hourly rate quoted above plus VAT and we will advise you of the amount of any additional disbursements before they are incurred.

Timescale for the above estates

The obtaining of the Grant of Probate and collecting in of non-property assets in the above estates usually takes between 3 to 6 months. Prior to the Coronavirus pandemic, obtaining the Grant of Representation typically to around 4 to 12 weeks. However, there are currently delays within the Probate Court but we will endeavour to obtain the Grant as quickly as possible under the present circumstances. Once the Grant has been received from the Court, we will then collect in the assets, which can take between 6 to 8 weeks. Once this has been done, and the sale of any property has been completed, we can prepare Estate Accounts for your approval as personal representatives, obtain the approval of any required beneficiaries, and distribute the estate, and this part of the process normally takes around 4 weeks. If there is a property to sell, the conclusion of the administration of the estate must await completion of the sale but we can make appropriate interim distributions in accordance with your instructions.

Our included services in connection with the above estates

 We will provide you with a dedicated and experienced Probate Solicitor to work on your matter who will:

  • Identify the legally appointed Executors or Administrators and beneficiaries
  • Accurately identify the type of Probate application required
  • Obtain the relevant documents required to make the application
  • Complete the Probate Application and the HMRC IHT205 form
  • Make the application to the Probate Court on your behalf
  • Obtain the Grant of Representation
  • Collect in the non-property estate assets
  • Arrange for the settlement of the funeral account and other liabilities from the estate assets as required
  • Provide the DWP with basic information about the estate assets as required
  • Prepare an Estate Account dealing with monies we have received and paid out on behalf of the estate for your approval
  • Distribute the estate

Lasting Power of Attorneys

A Power of Attorney is a legal document where one person (the donor) gives another person or people (the Attorney/Attorneys’) the right to make decisions on their behalf. If you want someone to act on your behalf in financial or medical decisions, you will need to give them a Power of Attorney over your affairs. You can only set up a Power of Attorney while you still have the ability to weigh up information and make decisions for yourself.  This is known as 'mental capacity'.  Therefore, it is best to make a Lasting Power of Attorney as soon as possible so that you have the peace of mind that the people who you have trust and confidence in will carry out your wishes and do what it best for you in the event of you losing your mental capacity.

Court of Protection

In the event of a person losing mental capacity, a Court Order (known as a Deputyship Order) is required in order to deal with the assets of person who is no longer capable of doing so themselves. Matters can often be difficult for the family when a loved one losing mental capacity.  Please contact our specialist should you require more information about this service.

Please contact us if you would like to discuss making a Will or review your current Will.

If you have any queries, please contact our private client department on 0161 446 1122 to discuss your needs.  Alternatively, you can email your enquiry to [email protected] and one of our specialists will be in touch with you shortly.

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